How to successfully return to work after a mental crisis?
Mental disorders increase the risk of unemployment and of early retirement. For this reason, it is important to support people to return to work after a mental crisis. At present, BAuA is carrying out research on RTW in several projects.
© Uwe Völkner, Fotoagentur FOX
In Germany, every year several hundred thousand employees stop working for a long-time or forever. This is increasingly happening is due to mental disorders. For example, the number of working days lost because of mental disorders increased throughout Germany between 2001 and 2012 from 33.6 million to 60 million.
Health promotion is an important resource for the mental health and workability of employees. Mental health is not just physical, mental and social well-being, but also the competence to cope with challenges, problems and crises constructively. In addition, it is not just the absence of disease, but rather a dynamic relationship between being healthy and being sick. Mental health and disorders are therefore two states that are dependent on one another.
In this sense, successful processing or coping with a mental crisis and an effective return to work is also an expression on mental health.
A significant challenge on reintegration following a mental crisis is the fear of stigmatization, because stigmatization, or fear of it, influences
Along with fear and uncertainty, stigmatization also provokes labour conflicts and limits productivity. This hampers early treatment and return to work.
This is why it is important to deal openly with the subject of mental health, and to enable an appropriate communication with the company. What is helpful here is above all training sessions for managers, as well as informing and involving co-workers.
Along with interpersonal conditions, there are a number of additional factors that can, in different ways, influence the RTW process after mental disorders:
Special importance is assigned to the interleaving of individual and work-related measures, in which, for example, the self-management of returning employees is supported by feedback and coaching sessions with supervisors and RTW experts (RTW coaches, employability coaches, disability managers). For designing the return to work and the implementation of the measures, a personal risks assessment and stepwise reintegration is highly important.
The therapeutic orientation of the stepwise reintegration makes it possible to achieve an optimal fit between individual, social and operational conditions: in the direct confrontation with themselves, in the team and the working conditions.
One concern of the BAuA is to link and improve measures of prevention and reintegration. Against this background, was launched the project bundle "Mental disorders in the world of work" ("Psychische Erkrankungen in der Arbeitswelt"). It comprises four sub-projects:
For further detailed information please refer to our German Website.